Imagine Dragons Helped Me Understand My Mental Illness

Last month I was at the 104.5 concert and here the Imagine Dragons lead singer stopped mid-song to talk about mental illness.

In doing this, he made me cry. Stopping mid-song to talk about a topic that isn't really spoken of was admirable in itself. Then, he spoke about his own battle with depression, how he was so close to giving up on life but he found his will to keep going. He also mentioned that if you are feeling down its okay to go to a therapist. He stated he understands that some people can't afford it, and it's okay to have an illness. Finally, he said it gets better. At this, I started crying.

Over a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with depression, generalized anxiety, and panic disorder. I was only diagnosed because I had a panic attack for multiple days and thought I had asthma because I couldn't breathe. Since then, I did my fair share of time in therapy and am and probably always will be on medication. Even on my medication, I am unable to be in crowds for long periods of time, I start getting panic attacks when speaking in front of a bunch of people, and when being confronted by someone.

My panic attacks look different in every situation, from just shortness of breath to crying uncontrollably. Every day is a struggle. Sometimes my depression is so bad I don't get out of bed. A lot of the time I force myself to because if I don't I will be in bed for weeks at a time with only talking to my mom-mom--yes it has happened. (Or I'd go through the motions of my responsibilities as numb as possible and go straight to bed sleeping for 12-14 hours on end with naps during the day) I overwork myself so this doesn't happen and in turn, I end up exhausted and sick.

I look and seem happy. I know I do, for the most part. I try my hardest. But it is important for everyone to know that I put on a show a lot. There are times where I genuinely am happy. Being around friends and people does a lot of the time make me happy. But. When I go home my brain doesn't shut off and I cry a lot and overthink every move I've made for my whole life. If I made a mistake that day, it won't leave my mind for a very very long time and will keep me up at night.

I don't tell most people this because I don't want to bother them. I don't want them to think I'm weak or give me that sympathetic look every time they see me.

My mental illnesses do affect my daily life and dictate how I live and do things. My mental illnesses will always be a part of me. I am glad they are getting the recognition they deserve.

But, most people still don't understand. People still use words like "depressed" or "panic attack" when they aren't actually. The next day that person won't be depressed or their panic attack goes away in a few minutes. And in doing that it is harder for those of us with these disorders to be able to speak up. It makes me feel invalid and as if what i'm going through is easily fixable, when it is not. Mental illnesses are extremely common and like me, a lot of us do hide them in fear of so many things. It is hard to deal with it, but it is plausible

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